Aug 26, 2017 News
– Finance Minister defends deal, rubbishes Ramsammy’s claims
Senior Government officials, who are now benefitting from health insurance, are paying half the
costs, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan says.
The minister was responding yesterday to an article in Kaieteur News headlined “Procurement procedures not followed in insurance deal for ministers – Dr. Leslie Ramsammy”.
Ramsammy claimed that the administration, following an announcement in June, did not advertise for insurance companies to submit bids to have ministers and senior Government officials be insured, in case of medical illness and other health issues.
The contract, to the tune of $38M, went to an insurance company which has offices here but is headquartered in a neighbouring country.
By 2020, Ramsammy said, the insurance company would be collecting in excess of $150M representing payments for the coverage of the insurance. Ramsammy is a former Health Minister.
However, according to Minister Jordan, regarding the insurance for ministers, Minister of State Joseph Harmon would be a more appropriate person to speak on how the insurance company was selected.
“Suffice it to say, here, that the Government is meeting 50 percent of the monthly premiums. The other 50 percent is borne by the insuree.”
Yesterday, former Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Juan Edghill, who is now in Opposition, said that from information, the Government paid over $38M-plus to the insurance company yesterday, hours after the story was published.
This raises questions over what arrangements are in place for the government officials to pay.
He also named the company and raised questions over the tendering process.
In defending the need for insurance yesterday, Jordan said that the move to insure ministers and their families is new to Guyana, but not elsewhere.
“At least, taxpayers would not have to bear the unconscionable medical expenditure incurred by a significant number of ministers, party and other officials, and other persons in the previous PPP/C administrations,” he said in a letter to this newspaper.
Minister Jordan disagreed with Ramsammy’s claims that current ministers benefitted from a large salary increase of “‘up to 100%”’ almost immediately upon assuming office in May 2015. “This is a blatant falsehood, one of which Kaieteur News is aware; yet, it was printed with not even an Editor’s Note. As all the public knows, the salary of the Prime Minister, Vice Presidents, Senior Ministers, Junior Ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Leader of the Opposition, and other Members of Parliament were increased by varying percentages – from 5%, in the case of the Prime Minister to 50%, in the cases of Senior Ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition.”
Jordan noted that Ramsammy went further in another falsehood.
“He is also quoted as saying, “They benefitted from a further increase in 2016 and 2017 …” Again, Editor, this is another falsehood. Since the salary increase of 2015, none of the categories of Parliamentarians mentioned above have been granted any further salary increases. As such, Ministers and the other categories are receiving the same salary today that they were receiving in September 2015.”
According to Ramsammy on Thursday, there were no advertisements. “I am not aware that any discussion occurred with any of the insurance companies based in Guyana.”
The former Health Minister made it clear that he is not opposed to the Government covering costs of medical care for its ministers by obtaining health insurance coverage.
“But it is important that such transactions be in the public domain. Earlier this year, Minister (Joseph) Harmon insisted that government pays no bills for ministers’ foreign health care. This was not the truth. It was a deliberate misinformation.”
Ramsammy claims that he has information that ministers have traveled to Ireland, Cuba, Canada, USA and the Caribbean and these trips were paid for by the Ministry of Public Health.
“The Auditor General must take note of this. I am confident that on examination the Auditor General will discover that these costs were met by the Ministry of Public Health and or by the Ministry of Finance.”
The issue of medical bills being footed by the state has been a sore one in the past.
Normal citizens have complained of being granted a fraction of what they need for emergency attention. The process has always been a tough one to access the funds from the state.
However, a softer view has been taken of government officials who fell ill and in some cases of Opposition members.
Previous governments have paid for treatment of their members to the tune of millions.
Jun 16, 2021By Franklin Wilson Kaieteur News – Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde was yesterday resolute in stating that his Federation will not be making any hasty decision (s) with...
Jun 16, 2021
Jun 16, 2021
Jun 16, 2021
Jun 16, 2021
Jun 16, 2021
Kaieteur News – Are you telling the world that a coalition of parties won the government and soon after mediocrity,... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]